I am a member of the NRA. In fact, I’m a Life Member. This means, among other things, that every few days I receive an email from the lobbying arm of the organization, NRA-ILA, which contains some scary stories about threats to my 2nd-Amendment rights, followed by a plea from Chris Cox to send some dough. Most of the stories are the usual Obama-this and Obama-that, God only knows what the NRA will do to stave off total collapse if the Republicans run the table in 2016. But every once in a while some story catches my eye and it’s my civic duty as a gun nut to bring it to everyone’s attention, NRA members or not.
The story begins with the following headline: “Foster Family Loses Children For Exercising Second Amendment Right.” It comes out of Clark County, Nevada, (a.k.a. Las Vegas) where a couple, Kristi and Rod Beber, had three foster children taken away from them following a disturbance in front of their home. It turned out the Bebers kept a loaded, unlocked handgun in their home which, according to the Department of Family Services, “did not describe an adult exercising sound judgment.”
The Bebers, of course, have become rock stars on the red-meat digital network, with stories about their suffering (basically a reprint of the local news story linked here) popping up on Breitbart, The Blaze, various gun blogs, all the usual crap. What I can’t find is whether Clark County DFS removed the kids because the Bebers owned a gun per se, or was it the result of details that came out of the specific incident that resulted in the cops being called out to their home. What I did find interesting is the fact that the DFS website’s home page carries a large advertisement for the county’s shooting range, the Clark County Shooting Complex, which is called Nevada’s ‘Five-Star’ Range. Oh well.
In June the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill that, according to the Bebers, the NRA, the Breitbart gang and Glenn Beck gave Rod Beber the right to do exactly what he did, namely, to use his gun to defend his family from harm: “This bill authorizes a person who holds CCW to carry a concealed firearm on the premises of a family foster home if it is stored in a locked secure storage container except when used for certain lawful purposes.” The bill was passed in June, the incident at the Beber residence took place in April; hence, he wasn’t covered by the law and, even if he were, it’s not clear that he was actually using the gun that night for ‘certain lawful purposes.’ We’ll get all the facts when Beber shows up to speak at the NRA annual show next year.
But let’s suppose, just for a minute, that Beber has a case. Let’s suppose that he really did lose his 2nd-Amendment rights just because the incident at his home occurred two months before the law was changed. And let’s even forget the cautionary words written by Antonin Scalia in Heller and seemingly forgotten by everyone: “Nor does our analysis suggest the invalidity of laws regulating the storage of firearms to prevent accidents.” What I really find interesting about the Beber case is the fact that the law was changed at all. I mean, how many people in Nevada could the DFS regulation on foster-care gun ownership really affect?
What’s happening is that the NRA is methodically and relentlessly poring through laws and regulations in state after state to find every, single instance in which anyone faces any kind of regulation of their so-called gun rights. And while the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence offers a pretty good description of current state gun laws, is anyone out there tracking the ongoing effort to weaken and/or abolish those laws? I don’t think it’s being done at all and I’m hoping it’s not too late.